Students' Take: Increased outreach in Davao

By Ashton Tan & Richard Sim, Class of 2023

OCIP Davao, an initiative that serves underprivileged communities in Davao City, Philippines alongside their partner NGO, Sowing the Master's Seed Ministry, embarked on the seventh of its bi-annual trips on 14-20 July this year. The team comprised six Year 1s, five Year 2s, four Year 3s, two house officers and was headed by Associate Professor of Human and Microbial Genetics Eric Yap. The team reached out to the villages of Magtuod and Talaingod, conducting health screening and health education for the locals. The team also held engaging science and career lessons for Langub High School.

All smiles after a long but fulfilling day conducting the health screening at Magtuod village

In the villages, the team went door-to-door to provide health education. Villagers were informed about prevalent diseases they faced, including hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Visual aids were used to educate villagers about their recommended daily salt and sugar intake, while translated pamphlets were distributed to increase their understanding.

On their rounds, students also collected data for OCIP Davao's novel Geographic Information System. This system was set up a year ago in an effort to create a virtual map of the rural villages, to enhance the ease and accuracy of future follow-ups for residents with chronic conditions. Currently, most of the households in Magtuod have been mapped out and the team hopes to use the system to follow-up identified cases with more targeted health education and observe health trends over time.

On 18 July, a health screening was conducted for Magtuod; stations included modalities such as height and weight, blood glucose, blood pressure, urinalysis and doctors' consultation. Villagers found to have chronic diseases were highlighted for health education, and their data was logged into the OCIP's database for long-term follow-up.

The OCIP Davao team visited the Magtuod health centre and hopes to continue building meaningful connections with the nurses for future collaborations, as well as establish sustainable self-management plans for the village.

At Langub High School, the team taught the students DNA replication and osmosis through a hands-on session where they played "secret agents" following a detective storyline. For career education, the high school students were exposed to many scenarios and team activities, where they learnt concepts of financial literacy and prudent money management.

This July trip was undoubtedly meaningful for OCIP Davao, and the team hopes to continue their work in serving the communities of Davao by creating sustainable impact.